Speech Assessment: Purpose and How it Can Help Your Child:
As Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), we often speak to parents about the importance of initial and updated assessments. For starters, an assessment is “the ongoing procedures used by qualified personnel to identify the child’s unique strengths and needs and the early intervention services appropriate to meet those needs throughout the period of the child’s eligibility…and includes the assessment of the child…and the assessment of the child’s family…” (IDEA, Part C, Section 303.321).” As parents and caregivers, it is easy to get carried away with the idea of testing and scoring, but it should be noted that the term testing does not directly correlate with pass/fail. In fact, testing is for SLPs to establish a baseline and to get to know the child in order to provide the most individualized treatment possible! Further, updated assessments are also utilized to monitor progress and show improvement in your child’s skills.
When receiving a written report, every parent wants to understand how their child performed in reference to their peers, and what is considered “the norm”. As therapists, we utilize standardized testing to allow for accurate comparison of a child’s performance, yes, but its purpose for this comparison is how we can best support the child in order to allow for them to best function and succeed in their lives outside of the speech room. In addition, we hand-pick the testing we feel will best give us the most information about your child. That being said, an assessment contains more than just formal scoring for this very reason! According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), assessment should be dynamic in nature, including informal assessment and observation such as parent report, case history, informal conversations, presentation,ect (ASHA,n.d.). As SLPs our treatment is just as dependent on informal observations, because children cannot be defined as a singular number or description. Our job is to provide the most accurate representation of a child as possible, regardless of number or comparison.
Because testing is an integral part of the development of your child’s treatment plan, we absolutely want you to bring any questions or concerns you have about the math and terminology presented, and how this relates to your treatment plan! For more information on how and why we collect the specific information mentioned, please visit the link below!